The University of Richmond’s new Queally Center is a cutting-edge facility that serves as a welcome center for guests and unites the offices of admissions, financial aid and employer relations.The University of Richmond consistently ranks among Ivy League schools as a top academic institution, and more than 20,000 prospective students visit the campus each year. In 2014, the university started planning construction for a new building that could illustrate the university’s cutting-edge learning environment and support current students in the first steps of their professional careers.
“We standardized on AMX over ten years ago, and it has been an excellent platform,” said Doug West, Assistant Vice President of Information Services, University of Richmond. “The HARMAN system is incredibly flexible. Professors can walk into any smart classroom on campus, immediately configure the room for their lecture needs, and deliver high quality audio and video presentations. Although the technology capabilities in the Queally Center go far beyond those of our standard classroom spaces, we still wanted to extend that same ease-of-use to the new facility.”
Combining the offices of admissions, financial aid and employer relations, the Queally Center was designed as a true multi-use facility. The 56,000-square-foot building includes a welcome center with interactive touch points, smart conference rooms that enable students to go on virtual interviews with potential employers, staff offices and a multifunction 500-seat assembly room at the heart of the facility.
Designed in collaboration with the university’s Communications and Digital Engagement team, the building entrance opens into a hallway lined with brilliant digital displays, interactive information kiosks and a striking 9-panel video wall. A central AMX touch panel controls each of the displays and interactive touch points. Prospective students can use the kiosks to explore campus maps, watch videos about academic programs and connect with the university through social media channels.
At the same time, the gorgeous wall-mounted displays feature imagery of student life and important moments in university history. The result is a technology-rich facility that has an instant impact on visitors—and is highly functional for the faculty, staff and students who work in the center every day.
The centerpiece of the Queally Center is a premium 500-seat assembly room. The venue includes three 12-foot screens with short-throw projectors and four supporting 82-inch displays for presentations. The assembly room also features an integrated sound system made up of JBL loudspeakers and Crown amplifiers, which provide pristine sound reinforcement and flexibility for a wide range of events. Four AMX touch panels allow admissions staff members to manage the different space configurations. Master control of the facility is also accessible on an iPad via the AMX TP Control application.
To make the most of the space, the room can be converted into two or three individual meeting rooms via dividing walls that descend from the ceiling. Each space can be quickly configured with its own unique audio zone and video display, making the assembly room a perfect starting point for daily campus tours and breakout sessions for prospective students. The Office of Alumni & Career Services’ Career Gallery and Employer Suite is also located in the new building. Here, students meet with potential employers in interview suites, which are equipped with in-person and virtual interview capabilities, including displays, JBL speakers and state-of-the-art video-conferencing equipment.
“The AMX touch panels throughout the building make it easy to control all of the AV systems—from the displays throughout the building, to the conference rooms and out to the courtyard,” explained West. “In the assembly room alone, there are twelve source points that can be routed to seven content destinations, and all of that is seamlessly controlled by AMX equipment.”
Before the new facility existed, the University of Richmond offices of admission, financial aid and employer relations were in separate locations. Embarking on daily campus tours, seeking information about academic programs and tuition, and connecting with future employers required multiple trips to different buildings. With the Queally Center and the end-to-end HARMAN solution, these services and experiences are unified in a single building that not only meets the needs of all three departments, but also provides a breathtaking experience for visitors to campus.
“Because HARMAN offers a tightly integrated solution, we’re able to handle very complex A/V switching behind the scenes in a streamlined, elegant manner,” West concluded. “It makes a huge difference to presenters when technical staff are not available.”